Smoked Hazelnuts

I’ve made the ‘usual’ smoked nuts a number of times. You know, peanuts. Walnuts. Pecans. Those things. This was my first time smoking Hazelnuts. In fact, I’d never even thought about making them until I ran across a picture someone posted of a big batch of smoked Hazelnuts. They looked so amazing I could almost smell and test them. I’ve always loved Hazelnuts, so I figured I’d love them smoked even more and I was right!
Smoked Hazelnuts

You can shell and eat these nuts just as they are. And I certainly devoured a few handfuls. But, my main reason for smoking them was to use them in recipes. First up? A smoked Hazelnut butter for baked sweet potatoes!

As you can tell from the recipe, I didn’t add anything to the nuts before I put them on my smoker. They don’t need it. No oil, no salt and pepper. Just put them on ‘au naturale’ and let them go for a while.

Smoked pistachios are also amazing! Try them too!

Smoked Hazelnuts

Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling 30 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • raw Hazelnuts in shell

Instructions

  • Fire up your smoker for 225-250 F cooking. Use hickory or a fruit wood.
  • Add the nuts to the smoker. Don't crowd them. Smoke for 1 hour.
  • Remove and let cool completely before shelling.

Smoked Pecans

My goodness, me, there went my self-control again. Good thing I made two big batches of these smoked pecans because a lot of them were sacrificed in the name of ‘quality control’. The nuts are smoked just enough. There is a such thing as too much smoke on nuts. You don’t want it to be overwhelming, but you do want to still taste smoke. Otherwise, you can’t call them smoked pecans!
Smoked Pecans

I used two different spice mixtures for the smoked pecans. The first batch I made a somewhat sweet, southwestern-inspired mix. It was a great balance of flavors, and one enjoyed by everyone. The second version I went a bit spicier (but not too spicy) route. It’s the same as the first mix, but with cayenne instead of cinnamon. People often shy away when they see ‘spicy’, but I found them to have just a hint of a kick and a little sweetness.

If you just finished smoking ribs, pork, whatever, on your smoker and still have some fire, smoked pecans are a great way to use up the rest of that smoke time. Never waste it, I say!

Also try my smoked pistachios.

Smoked Pecans

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling time 30 minutes
Servings 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shelled raw pecans
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted

Spice mixture

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika piment√≥n
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Fire up your smoke for 250 F. Use a fruit wood, such as apple, or pecan. Since the smoking time is short compared to say, smoking ribs, I recommend using extra wood to generate more smoke than you might usually.
  • Place the nuts in a disposable aluminum pan. Drizzle with the melted butter and stir to coat.
  • Combine the spice mixture ingredients and sprinkle over the nuts. Stir to coat.
  • Place the pan onto the smoker and smoke 60 minutes. Stir the nuts every 15 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the smoker and let the nuts cool completely before serving. On the off chance you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container.

Notes

For a spicy version, substitute cayenne pepper for the cinnamon.

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

I could not resist when I saw beautiful, ripe red strawberries at the grocery store. As many dishes as I could use them in, my mind instantly went to creamy, yummy, delicious homemade strawberry ice cream. This ice cream is so smooth, but it also has nice little bites of crazy good strawberry. It tastes so fresh, it’s hard to stop eating it.

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

I often change recipes when I make them. And I often cut back on things like, oh, cream or sugar. But not when I make homemade strawberry ice cream. This is not the time to be skimpy or try to make a dish super-duper healthy. This is decadent goodness. It’s supposed to be that way.

Also try my chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries hulled, diced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Place the diced strawberries into a large bowl. Add the honey, sugar and lemon juice. Stir to coat then let sit on the countertop for 15-20 minutes or until the juices from the strawberries has been released. There should be a good bit of juice in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Use a potato masher or fork to mash the strawberry mixture until all of the larger chunks have been mashed. But don't go crazy on it if you prefer some occasional strawberry pieces in your ice cream.
  • Stir in the heavy cream, half and half and vanilla extract.
  • Transfer to your ice cream maker and process per manufacturer's instructions. Freeze overnight. Let sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  • Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

Smoked Pistachios

This is how you make a huge pistachio fan out of me. I love smoked nuts, but until now I’d never smoked pistachios before. Well, let me tell you folks! Good doesn’t even come close to describing how yummy these nuts were! I set out to smoke nuts to use in ice cream (I know, right? You know that’ll be awesome!). I doubt that half of them survived for my ice cream plans… I couldn’t help myself.

Smoked Pistachios

For the seasoning on my smoked pistachios I went with Sweet Red from AlbuKirky Seasonings. It has a nice sweet heat flavor to it, the perfect contrasting flavors for the nuts. I seasoned the nuts pretty liberally with it, too. Since the nuts aren’t shelled a lot of that flavor does end up on the shell. So by adding more I increased the amount of seasoning that made it’s way inside… and oh, was I ever rewarded for my efforts!

Also try my smoked peanuts in the shell and my smoked pecans. And nothing is amazing as smoked hazelnuts!

Smoked Pistachios

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Fire up your smoker for 250 F cooking. Use a light wood such as apple or peach.
  • Place the nuts in a large bowl and lightly (very lightly) drizzle with a little oil. For 1 pound of nuts I used less than 1/2 tablespoon of oil.
  • Toss the nuts to coat. Now, sprinkle them liberally with the seasoning. Now is not the time to be shy. Load up on it and toss to coat.
  • Transfer nuts to your smoker. I use a grill mat to keep the nuts from falling thru the grates. Smoke for 2 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so.
  • Remove, shell and devour.

Cherry Limeade

Ahhhh, the perfect drink on a hot day. This cherry limeade hit the spot and then some. A little tart and a little sweet, you can make this regular or diet. The diet version isn’t completely carbohydrate-free. For that, you can omit the lime juice and cherries and instead use diet syrups, like the ones available from Torani. They make a wide range of diet fruit (and other) flavored syrups. We love them on sno-cones too!

Cherry Limeade

I recommend not storing this cherry limeade with the lime slices if you have any leftovers. The next day it’ll get mighty darned ‘limey’. Just drop the slices in when you are ready to serve, and remove them if you need to refrigerate the remainder overnight.

Also try my homemade sno-cone syrup.

Cherry Limeade

Course Drink
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 liters

Ingredients

  • 2 liter Sprite diet is fine
  • 1 cup lime juice fresh squeezed
  • 10 ounces maraschino cherries not drained
  • 1 cup sugar artificial sweetener is fine
  • lime slices for serving

Instructions

  • Place the soda, juice and cherries into the fridge for 1 hour.
  • Combine all ingredients except for the lime slices in a large pitcher. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Serve ladled into tall glasses, making sure to get some of the cherries. Add a few lime slices.

Beef Enchilada Dip

It’s ok if after you make this beef enchilada dip you decide to put down your tortilla chip and grab a spoon and eat it like chili. I’m not going to blame you one single bit. The enchilada sauce has that great southwestern spiciness to it. Adding some ground beef and toppings make it not only a great dip but also a great chili.
Beef Enchilada DipI used my fire-roasted enchilada sauce when I made this beef enchilada dip. The char flavor comes thru, making the tomato sauce oh so much better. I often find myself substituting fire-roasted versions of peppers and tomatoes in recipes. Specially when the recipes call for chiles or jalapenos.

I also like to top my beef enchilada dip with some green enchilada sauce.

Beef Enchilada Dip

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce I used my fire-roasted enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups grated cheese Monterey Jack or cheddar cheeses work best
  • Sour cream and diced pickled jalapenos for garnish
  • Tortilla chips for serving

Instructions

  • Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Drain most of the fat and add the onion and cook until just tender.
  • Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Stir in the enchilada sauce.
  • Sprinkle with the cheese..
  • Cover and wait until the cheese melts, 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve topped with sour cream and diced jalalpenos, with chips for dipping.

Deep-Fried Pepper Rings

I’ve fried (and devoured) my share of deep-fried onion rings. And deep-fried pickles. And deep-fried jalapenos. These deep-fried pepper rings were different. The peppers are a bit crunchy. And they’re a bit sweet. You get that great pepper flavor, all surrounded in a great crunchy coating that sticks to each and every pepper perfectly. Great for dipping.

Deep-Fried Pepper Rings

I absolutely loved the dipping sauce for these deep-fried pepper rings. I’m a huge fan of Old Bay. Anita doesn’t like it if it’s too strong. But she loved this sauce. It has the just the right amount of Old Bay. It’d be great for dipping much more than just these rings. Make extra and use it with chips, fries and fresh veggies.

Also try my deep-fried jalapeno slices.

Deep-Fried Pepper Rings

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the pepper rings

  • 6 small sweet peppers assorted colors, sliced thin, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg beaten
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying

For the dipping sauce

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions

For the dipping sauce

  • Whisk together all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the pepper rings

  • Heat 2" of oil to 350 F.
  • Combine the flour, water, and beaten egg together in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Whisk until smooth.
  • Add peppers to the batter and use a spatula to carefully stir and coat them completely.
  • Working in batches if necessary, deep fry the coated rings 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plated to drain and cool.
  • Season rings with salt and pepper and serve with the dipping sauce.

Deep-Fried Jalapeno Slices

I didn’t plant a pepper garden this year. But on what I now call “Christmas in Summer”, our neighbor brought us a big ole batch of jalapenos. I knew exactly what I was going to make because I’ve been jonesin’ for deep-fried jalapeno slices for a while. Sure, they pack a bit of heat, but honestly, they aren’t that hot. The batter is perfect, not hiding that great pepper flavor. And just in case we find a hot ring or two, we serve them with Ranch dressing for dipping and cooling.
Deep-Fried Jalapeno Slices

I admit it. Just like I do with my copycat Long John Silver’s fish-and-chips, I made extra ‘crunchies’ when I made these deep-fried jalapeno slices. Ya know, the little pieces of crunchy fried batter that end up in the basket. They’re almost as good as the peppers. Almost.

Also try my deep-fried pepper rings.

Deep-Fried Jalapeno Slices

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 medium jalapenos sliced
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • Ranch dressing for serving

Instructions

  • In a large bowl whisk together the egg, beer and baking powder.
  • Add the seasoned salt and flour and whisk until smooth.
  • Heat 2-3" of oil to 365 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • Add jalapeno slices to the batter. Stir to coat completely.
  • Working in batches, remove the jalapeno slices from the batter and transfer to the oil. Fry until golden brown, flipping once. Remove to a paper towel-lined platter to drain.
  • Serve with Ranch dressing for dipping.

Blackened Fried Shrimp

I could probably eat a ton of these blackened fried shrimp. I was already badly addicted to fried shrimp. Then along came these beyond-delicious treats and my addiction somehow got worse. I didn’t even think that was possible. Yummy crunchy batter that has a great light spiciness to it. The batter isn’t too thick. It isn’t too thin. You really just can’t stop eating them.
Blackened Fried Shrimp

For a little extra kick, sprinkle the shrimp with more of the seasoning just after you remove them from the hot oil. Why go thru the trouble of making the blackened seasoning from scratch? That store-bought stuff is just way too salty for me. But you’re certainly free to use it.

Also try my Cajun fried shrimp.

Blackend Fried Shrimp

Course Appetizer or Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 pound large shrimp peeled, deveined
  • vegetable oil for frying

For the blackened seasoning (may make a bit more than you'll need)

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

For the flour station

  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 2 teaspoons blackened seasoning from above

For the dipping station

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Instructions

  • Place shrimp into a large bowl. Season with two teaspoons of the blackened seasoning and toss well.
  • Combine the flour and blackened seasoning. Dip the shrimp into the mixture and coat well. Transfer to a plate and place into the freezer for five minutes. Reserve the flour mixture.
  • Heat 3-4" of oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • Whisk together the egg, milk and hot sauce in a pie plate or shallow dish.
  • Dip the shrimp into the egg mixture and then return to the flour mixture to coat.
  • Shake off excess flour and fry 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.
  • Serve with your favorite tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.

Cajun Fried Shrimp

My two biggest food obsessions? Chicken wings and fried shrimp. I could eat either one any time, any where. I’ve never had wings or shrimp that I didn’t absolutely love. Like these Cajun fried shrimp. Lightly crunchy. Stick-to-the-shrimp batter. A little heat. Perfectly cooked.Cajun Fried Shrimp

This is shrimp done up right. I served these Cajun fried shrimp with a crazy wonderful remoulade that has ended up being a shrimp-dipping staple in our house. It’s great for fries fish, too.

For that little extra ‘something’ sprinkle the shrimp lightly with Old Bay seasoning just before serving.

Also try my crispy fried shrimp and my blackened fried shrimp.

Cajun Fried Shrimp

Course Appetizer or Main
Cuisine Main
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp peeled and deveined
  • Spicy Remoulade Sauce recipe follows

For the Spicy Remoulade Sauce

  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 medium lemon juices

Instructions

  • Heat 3-4" of oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • In a pie plate or shallow dish, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and mustard.
  • In another pie plate or shallow dish, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, paprika, salt, cayenne and garlic powder.
  • Working in batches, add the shrimp to the flour mixture and coat well.
  • Shake off excess then place into the buttermilk mixture.
  • Shake off excess then return to the flour mixture, coating again.
  • Add to the hot oil and fry 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Serve with the spicy remoulade sauce.

For the Spicy Remoulade Sauce

  • Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.